Ex-NFL Players Stunned by Concussion Settlements

Some recipients are seeing their payments reduced
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2018 2:27 PM CDT
Ex-NFL Players Stunned by Concussion Settlements
Stock image.   (Getty Images)

A $1 billion settlement for former NFL players with chronic brain trauma is adding up to little or nothing for some recipients, USA Today reports. Approved in 2015, the money was supposed to help family of ex-players who had died or were in nursing homes. But at least a dozen recipients have seen much of their settlements held back or reduced as credit card companies, lawyers, insurance companies, and others place liens on the money. "I thought they made a mistake," says Ursula Goldston, daughter of deceased ex-player Ralph Goldston, who was on the Philadelphia Eages in 1952 and later got Alzheimer's; his $160,000 payment was reduced to negative $740. "I just cannot believe these people did that.”

So who's to blame? Some say lawyers are taking too much for doing minimal work, per Deadspin, while others criticize Chris Seeger—who co-led the plaintiff's counsel against the NFL—for negotiating terms that let parties hold back funds without enough player protections. For his part, Seeger says "it is required by law" to set money aside until medical liens are worked out, and "the majority had $0 deducted from their awards" by liens. Yet other class-action settlements, like one related to the 9/11 attacks, apparently had such protections for victims. Meanwhile, plaintiffs like Gordon can appeal their finding for an extra $1,000. "I'm not giving up," she says, "because my mother deserves this money." (Even youth football can hurt memory later in life, one study says.)

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